Did you know that the bladder of a healthy, active, and hydrated individual releases up to two liters of urine every day?
Pee, also known as urine, is one of the by-products of metabolism produced by humans and animals alike. Considering how much we produce, it's only normal to want to know if it's safe for us and the environment.
For instance, you'd find that several people are puzzled about the flammability of urine.
You've probably heard somewhere that urine is flammable and wonder if it is true, mainly because it sounds absurd. However, in this article, I will directly answer the question, "Is pee flammable?" and provide some interesting things you'd want to know.
If you love experimenting as I do, you may want to test to see if your urine is flammable. But, before you do, read this. This information will be beneficial.
Is Pee Flammable?
Pee is not flammable because it is composed of over 90% water. While there are other compounds in urine, such as urea, uric acid, and ammonia, the quantity of water trumps these.
In other words, the water content in urine will put out a fire rather than start one. So, while the other components of urine are flammable when isolated, the water content in urine neutralizes their flammability.
What Are The Components Of Urine?
Urine is composed of 91–96% water. The remaining 4–9% includes a mixture of nitrogenous compounds. These compounds include urea, ammonia, uric acid, sodium chloride, potassium, creatine, and dissolved ions.
When isolated, some of these components are flammable. Ammonia, for example, can explode under high temperatures. Furthermore, when isolated and combined with strong reducing agents, urea forms nitrogen, a flammable gas.
Also, sodium chloride (NaCl) violently ignites in water and flammable air, while potassium is flammable if no water is present. Thankfully, these four chemicals are only present in minimal quantities in urine, which is why urine is not flammable.
Moreover, the high quantity of water in urine makes it impossible for these substances to ignite. Therefore, the direct answer to the question, "Is urine flammable?" is: no, urine is not.
Is Pee Flammable Enough to Start a Fire?
Under the right situation and in the appropriate manner, it is possible to use pee to start a fire. Now wait, this sounds contradictory, right? Well, keep reading to understand what I mean.
As I mentioned, pee alone cannot start or cause a fire; it will naturally extinguish a fire. However, you can use your pee to start a fire – not that you should try it unless necessary.
For instance, a typical situation where your pee may be helpful by starting a fire is if you are stranded in the woods or going camping. First, gather some stones, dry grass, and paper. Then, fill a plastic water bottle with your pee. Next, fasten the bottle cap and turn the bottle upside down in the sun, aiming at some dry paper or grass.
The container functions as a magnifying glass, collecting the sun's rays. Then, it passes the collected rays through the clear urine, concentrating the heat photons into one point. Although it can take a while, the grass or paper will burn. But the bottle must be full of urine to work.
This process still doesn't imply that pee is flammable. However, it proves that you can use it to start one. Moreover, this fire-starting trick I just described works just as well if you use water instead of urine.
Can You Pee on Electric Outlets Or Towards A Fire?
Please, note that the fact that urine is not flammable does not mean you should pee on electricity or naked flame. Urine may not be explosive or flammable, but it contains salts and is a good conductor of electricity.
This means you could be electrocuted if you pee on an electric fence or outlet, which is an unpleasant experience. On the other hand, whether or not you should pee towards a fire depends on the results you hope to get.
For example, urinating toward it can work if you want to extinguish a small fire. On the other hand, peeing on combustible materials will not cause a fire if you’re trying to start one.
Does Alcohol In Urine Make It Flammable?
No amount of alcohol or combustible beverage you drink can make your urine flammable – it's impossible. Alcohol is flammable, but drinking it does not change the water composition of your urine.
Furthermore, drinking alcohol does not make your urine flammable because not all the alcohol you drink goes to your urine. Here's why:
- Only 10% of the alcohol you drink goes into your urine, while the remaining 90% is broken down. This 10% is insufficient to turn 96% of water-filled urine into a flammable, explosive substance.
- Furthermore, for your urine to become flammable, it has to contain at least 51% alcohol. On the contrary, alcohol in urine is diluted, too diluted to make it start or catch on fire.
I have witnessed drunk teens try bizarre things like peeing on fire to put it out or just to check its impact. But it is advisable that you don't engage in such activities.
For your urine to light on fire, you would need excess blood alcohol content (BAC) for your pee to have enough alcohol for a fire. Very few individuals have ever reached this point and survived. And, if you ever do, trying to start a fire with your pee will be the last thing on your mind.
How About Animal Urine? Is It Flammable?
Animal urine is no riskier than human urine because both contain similar water and chemical contents. In other words, animal urine is not flammable. Even when dried, it cannot become flammable.
Therefore, you don't have to worry if your pet pees on your carpet or driveway and leaves a puddle behind. Simply get some water and disinfectant to wash it away without worrying about fire hazards.
If Urine Is Non-flammable, Why Do Urine Containers Explode?
You have probably heard stories about containers of urine exploding and wondered how this is possible. But before we delve into that, let's ask the obvious question: why do people pee in containers?
Well, sometimes, it is necessary. For example, people can pee in containers during festivals, religious gatherings, and other situations where they don't know where to go. In this case, some can get a container, use it, and leave it near a toilet.
While this may be understandable, the logical step to take after is to empty the bottle when you can. This is because, after a while, the pee container may not be in great condition, and, in certain situations, it may explode.
However, this explosion has more to do with the container's conditions rather than the fact that it is pee.
Pee bottles explode when the bottles are disturbed and pressure has built up inside, causing a chemical reaction that creates a pop sound. While they don't pop in a blazing rage, they do pop at the top, which can be pretty disgusting.
Can Urea Be Considered Flammable?
Urea cannot be considered flammable because it is a base and, therefore, is difficult to ignite. Flammable substances burn and ignite rapidly in the presence of oxygen and usually have a flashpoint.
Urea has no flashpoint and is, therefore, an anti-flammable component. Nevertheless, the breakdown of urea is unpalatable and can produce mildly hazardous to harmful gasses.
So there it is! If you've ever asked, "Is pee flammable?" You have your answer. Urine is not flammable because it is mainly composed of water. While it contains some explosive compounds such as ammonia and uric acid, it cannot cause a fire. This is because the water content in urine would put out a fire instead of starting one.